Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mexican food in Korea

I finally found it!  I found a place that makes Mexican food near where we live.  Score!

For our Girls' Night Out, my friend and I decided that we wanted to go to a place she had been once before.  It's important to note that that "once before" was like four months ago, and while she didn't remember exactly where this restaurant was, she had an idea of what direction it was in.  Why is that important?  Wellllllll, here's our GNO story.

When we walked up to the taxi that was outside our building, he welcomed us in, and Cassie handed him her phone with an address in Korean for him to plug into his GPS.  He did just that, although he did seem confused, like it didn't quite make sense, but he went with it anyway. 

We drove in what Cassie knew was the direction of the restaurant, but then we kept on driving right on past that direction.  After making a couple phone calls to a Korean friend of hers for some help (Yes, we realized it was Friday night and he had better things to do than help us, BUT we were a Korea.  I'd say if there was any situation appropriate to interrupt someone's date night, this was it.), the cab driver seemed to have some insight into where he was going, but then only ended up driving in circles, always ending up back at the same place we started.

At one point, he pulled over to the side of the road and said something to us in Korean, and for a second we both thought he was kicking us out of cab because he was over trying to help us.  When he started driving again, we figured out that he obviously wasn't kicking us out and eventually deciphered that he was telling us he hadn't been running his meter.  Because he didn't know how long it would take to get where we wanted to go, he didn't run the meter in an effort for this ride to not cost us an arm and a leg.  How stinkin' nice is that?!

All the while this is going on, Cassie was searching feverishly on her phone to find a phone number, address, or something that might help us find this place.  She finally found something online that showed a building near the restaurant, and when she showed it to the driver, he made a sound like "OH!" while waving his arms around his head in a crazy silly manner like "I know where that is!  Why didn't you say so in the first place?!".  He smiled as he drove us to the street the restaurant was on in no more than 2 minutes after showing him that picture.

The ride ended up costing us 5000 won, which is close to ONLY $5!  We were in that cab for 30-40 minutes, easy.  The driver was so nice the whole time, and we were so lucky to have climbed into such a patient man's taxi.  I will say, though, that while that is definitely a steal for such a lengthy ordeal, I'd gamble to say he gave us such a deal to make up for the times he nearly killed us.  Maybe it was the time he continued through a light even though he had to have known he was going to end up stopped in the middle of a 4 way street with like 12 lanes all coming toward us, as we stared at a big ole bus coming straight for us.  I'm pretty sure that bus was so close to my door that I could see up the bus driver's nose.  OR maybe it was the time he drove between cars on the left side of the road (and we're talking driving cars, not parked cars) when the right side of the road, where we should have been driving, was completely empty.

I did take this picture of him speeding driving away (I reached for my camera not too long after we closed the door of the taxi and this guy hightailed it so fast I barely got his taillights in the shot...ha!).  I'm sure he wanted to hit the road before we could run after him and tell him we wanted to go somewhere else.

This is the front of Artista.  It's such a nice little restaurant, only open 6 days a week and during night hours.
I took this picture to remind me of what the street looks like that it's on for the future.  As you can tell, you don't even notice the restaurant until you are right up on it.

Okay, on to the important stuff.... the food!!!

As if you couldn't tell from the outside of Artista, this is a tiny place.  I'm talking 5 tables kind of tiny (that's right, you can count all the tables in the place on one hand!).  They do have a bar area with some bar stools as well as a couple tables that sit on the front porch, but it's way too cold for sitting outside right now.

Soon after sitting down, we were served chips and salsa.  Woo hoo!  Great start in my book.  The chips were definitely out of a bag from the grocery store kind of chips, but that's okay, because the salsa was pretty good.  It had a little kick to it, but it wasn't too spicy.

I ordered the fajitas.  I'm not sure what the black stuff drizzled on top of them is, but it was a little sweet and didn't ruin the flavor of the fajitas at all.  Just like back home, they were served on a bed of onions and peppers. 
 They cut the tortillas up like this in triangles instead of serving you big circles.
 Yummy sides...
 Even though we were both super full from our meals, I ordered this plate of beef enchiladas just to try something different as well.  I didn't love this, but it was definitely okay.  I just don't like sour cream, salsa, rice, and beans in my enchiladas.  That's more of a burrito to me, but I shouldn't be too shocked that this enchilada didn't have chili gravy on it like I'm used to....I am in Korea after all.  :)  I think I would've liked it more if it didn't have the salsa in it.  This reminded us of a pan of lasagna with the way it was layered and the top was covered in cheese from edge to edge.

The place is so small that the restrooms are outside!  I will say, though, that for an outside loo, this ain't too bad.  It was pretty clean, and I was in and out in 30 seconds because my tushy was a tad chilly.  It was interesting to hear conversations of people on the street on the other side of the gate while I did my thing.

No, this is not my favorite Mexican food from back home, but YES, I will come back here!  The fajitas were yummy, and having salsa and guacamole with it kind of sealed the deal for it being a good dinner.  I'm so glad and thankful I found a place than can fill a fajita void in my tummy when the need arises.  Now, if only I can remember how to get here in the future......  :)


  1. Oh man I want to know how to get there, it looks so cute

    1. Well Jenna, I have no idea how to give you directions without going back and walking it myself. If I am over that way soon, I'll write it down and get back to you. :) Sorry I can't be of more help.... As you can see, I got there nearly by mistake the first time. :) You do totally have to go. It was yummy!